Financing the Future of Water Infrastructure Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

The water challenges facing America’s cities, towns and natural resources have definitely been in the news, from extreme drought to extreme flooding to extreme contamination. Conventional thinking about conventional infrastructure is starting to give way to the recognition that there are other ways to look at water infrastructure; that there is enormous untapped potential for decentralized practices and technologies distributed over many properties to effectively address various water management, supply and quality issues. This “distributed infrastructure” (DI) includes permeable pavements, green roofs, rain gardens, smart meters, drought-tolerant landscaping, leak detection devices, water efficient appliances, gray-water systems, rainwater catchment, point-of-use water treatment.

GASB has made it possible for utilities to invest in DI in an entirely new way. The vast majority of us who sit on utility governing boards will always need to reserve much, even most, of our capital budgets for treatment facilities, pumps, tanks and other built infrastructure to move water around, manage floods, and treat contaminants. But having the ability to redeploy even a fraction of the billions in local utility capital spending toward distributed programs opens a vast new range of options and opportunities for utilities, as well as new markets for water innovation and local economic development.

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